Recently, you may have been aware that my Hotmail and Google email password had been gotten into. When that happened, the hacker copied all of the email addresses that were in it and then started sending out spam under my account. Because they had my address book, and therefore your email address, it will only be a matter of time before they start working on your email account also. The hackers seem to be from Poland and Nigeria. Both counties are notorious for email scams.
Why is this important?
Email address are tied to bank accounts, credit cards, online bill pay and everything else that might be important to you. If you are getting this from me then they already have your email address too. It's only a matter of time before they get to you. Some of you receiving this email have gotten a spam message from my wife’s Gmail account. Guess what, they got her, you are next.
Why does this matter to you?
Your password is probably too short. Mine was 8 characters, random letters and numbers, and in 2009 would have estimated to have taken about a year to break. Now due to advancements in computing, it takes less than 2 hours.
Here’s the technical part, you can skip this paragraph if you want.
Basically, what is happening is that video cards are now being used for processing data instead of a CPU in a computer. Video cards run thousands of times faster and it is called GPU processing. The process was invented recently by NVidia and here is a funny, short little video that explains how fast it is. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZrJeYFxpUyQ To put things in perspective, a video card for $600 today has as much computing power as a supercomputer costing $110 million in the year 2000. Software available on the internet has been written to take advantage of this new computing power. Currently (2012) mid-line video cards process at 1.3 Teraflops a second. How much is that? The contents of 1,300 1 TB hard drives.........every second.
What can you do?
Simply change your password. Georgia Tech Research Institute did a study on this problem and has calculated that a 12 character password (using upper case, lower case, numbers and symbols) would still take 17,134 years to crack with this new technology. http://www.geekstogo.com/2010/08/25/hello-passphrase-goodbye-password/
What password should I choose?
Here are a couple of websites to help you. I’ve been using both for years, both are free. The first is a password generator. Remember to choose at least 12 characters, including upper case, lower case, numbers and symbols. http://www.pctools.com/guides/password/ Now, check that password at this website by Microsoft to see if it is considered by them to be “Strong”. https://www.microsoft.com/protect/fraud/passwords/checker.aspx?WT.mc_id=Site_Link
In case you were wondering how long it would take to break your password, I give you this website.
(It's for informational purposes only and for security sake, please don't enter in your real password, please enter a fake one with the same number of letters, numbers and symbols.)
Smart Tech...Smart Results.